The last year or two of high school can be a true parenting challenge. Your kids are like horses being held back in the gate, and they are stomping and spewing, anxious to run their race. They are frustrated and feel they are more than ready.
Then after all the pomp and circumstance, the brutal college application process, you find yourself home in a quiet house, or you sleep in for the first time in 20 years and you think to yourself, yes, thank God… followed by guilt, emptiness and sadness that your life’s work feels done.
Trust me, IT IS NEVER DONE. It just changes, and you have to allow it to change, and be ready and open for change. You are in a new sphere of parenting, and it can be absolutely wonderful. Here’s 3 tips for empty nest coping:
First and foremost, buy a journal and get to know yourself again. What do YOU want for dinner? What hobby is lurking inside you that wants to be dusted off and enjoyed again? Keep a schedule that includes you, you, and you.
Know your child’s college class schedule. My dad always carried my schedule on an index card in his front shirt pocket. He would only call me when he knew I was not in class. He asked specific questions about the class I had that day, and I did the same for my girls. Honor their life, and their journey. You can not drive them on their journey. They must learn some hard lessons so they will be functioning adults positively contributing to society.
Make coffee dates and Skype. Send an email or a text without expectations for an immediate answer. Technology feeds unrealistic expectations. Kids at this age are fighting for space, so give it to them.
Be busy and interesting. Be the person that they want to take to dinner, but when she calls on how to make dinner, be there to answer it.
Give space, give grace, and give yourself some love. You deserve it.